Marcus Kurz und Alexander Shumsky-2

ALEXANDER SHUMSKY AND MARCUS KURZ ON FASHION OPPORTUNITIES

Interview

Alexander Shumsky and Marcus Kurz exploring how the fashion landscape has changed and the new opportunities lying within this development. ‘MBFW International Edition’ for example aims at intensifying the creative exchange between the individual MBFWs by offering to their talents a global platform and network.

The fashion industry has never stood still and still seeks for constant new impulses like hardly any other industry. The arise of the Covid-19 pandemic introduced new ways of presenting fashion through digital and hybrid events. This process highlighted how innovation lies in the industry’s roots and nature. “The Mercedes-Benz brand has always been capable of mixing traditions with innovation. It has been the same with MBFW: each and every part is ever-adapting.”, describes Alexander Shumsky, President of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia and Russian Fashion Council.

“The beauty of hybrid events lies in providing simultaneously a physical private experience, while making fashion accessible to a wider audience through virtual reality videos” says Marcus Kurz, Director of the MBFW Berlin and member of Fashion Council Germany. Alexander Shumsky adds: “Social platforms are a great opportunity to develop digital formats of fashion events beyond simple posts. For example, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia launched a reality live show on TikTok, attracting over 400,000 viewers in five days. We have also launched our first phygital event in September last year, MBFW Russia’s spin-off called Global Talents Digital. It was extremely successful, reaching 10 million views on the web.”

Besides a big shift towards hybrid and fully digital experiences, fashionistas are seeking for diverse impulses and “are eager to discover new designers from all corners of the world”, mentioned Alexander Shumsky. This desire can be fulfilled by local fashion talents and niche brands presented by local fashion weeks and events. This is also merit of the various MBFWs, which present original, creative and high-quality fashion designers, helping them to gain a growing presence on national and international level.

“Increasing the showcase of those talents and manifesting fashion as a cultural asset by refining the international position of the MBFW and uniting the individual venues – such as Moscow and Berlin – was the right next move in light of current developments. The vision is not only an interplay of different formats and international collaborations, but a cross-industry collaboration in which different disciplines work together to create something completely new.”, explains Marcus Kurz. “With MBFW INTERNATIONAL EDITION we are setting the base for doing so. The idea is not only about offering selected designers a platform, but to involve them on site as well, with a physical show or presentation in the future.”

Alexander Shumsky is also convinced that creating synergies within different MBFWs and developing a network across national borders is crucial. “It is a long-awaited initiative, and absolutely logical. Almost ten years ago I was trying to initiate something similar. That time it was stuck, mostly because of the global fashion environment that was primarily focused on top capitals and big brands. Today the fashion industry is becoming more culturally dependent than before. This means that critics, influencers, and clients are looking for original and vibrant ideas that express local flavor, pushing the industry towards pure creativity and responsible consumption (as opposed to fast fashion). The MBFW network is cultivating and promoting an extensive number of fashion talents and events locally, digitally, and globally. More importantly, the MBFW network is ahead on issues of inclusion, diversity, sustainability, and creativity on a global scale. I am sure that the direct conversation between MBFW platforms will lead to a large number of collaborations and exchanges – opinions, ideas, designers, formats etc.”

“Inspiration, ideas and creativity arise through exchange and are the foundation of progress.”, closes Marcus Kurz. ”Therefore, we are excited to contribute to this by presenting the designers of Fashion Open Studio X MBFW Berlin at The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Russia from October 19 – 23. Initially, the film is streamed digitally; yet in future, the plan is to include live presentations on site as well. We are already looking forward to following contributions between the individual MBFW venues.”

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